DEFCON 1 Reviews: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

The Ups, the Downs and the Franchise Jolt That It Didn’t Quite Bring


Disney / Marvel

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) prepares for battle.

Let’s be completely honest. Thor: Ragnarok was hyped far out of proportion. Sure, the movie was good. It was funny, smart, action packed and very, very colorful. The issue is that I wasn’t dying to see it again. Thor: Ragnarok was certainly better than Thor: The Dark World, but it doesn’t even compare to the original Thor, and this tends to be the blessing and curse of Marvel movies these days; they make films that are too good for their sequels to follow up.

But, as always, let’s start with the good stuff.

An Electrifying Exposition

The beginning of Thor: Ragnarok was amazing. For those who don’t know, Thor is the Norse god of Thunder, son of King Odin and the half-brother of the supervillain Loki (whom you may know from The Avengers). He wields a magical hammer that can summon lightning and is played by Chris Hemsworth, making him a certified beefcake.

As I said, at the start of Ragnarok, I was absolutely satisfied. The intro was super funny and very true to the positive direction that Marvel Comics is going towards. The exposition set a great tone for the most light-hearted Thor film yet.

Naw Fam

I knew that a new Thor film would mean the return of Loki, and Tom Hiddleston did not disappoint. His performance in Thor: Ragnarok was excellent. As usual, he excelled in his role as the mischievous, deceptive and hilarious demigod.

A little known fact about Loki, though, was that his suit in Ragnarok was brand new. Designed by Marvel costume designer Alexandra Byrne (who seems to make it into every one of my Marvel reviews), the new threads gave a great aesthetic to the Loki Odinson character.

Ruffalo’s Wild Wings

If you know me, you know that there’s no way I’d let the first movie featuring the Hulk since Avengers: Age of Ultron go without making a Mark Ruffalo pun. It was really a dandy idea to give the Hulk an awesome comeback in Thor: Ragnarok after so long without the fan favorite.

Despite being a big, green CGI monster for the vast majority of his role, Mark Ruffalo gave a funny and very human portrayal of Bruce Banner, Hulk’s alter ego, when the time came.

It was also good to see the dynamic between Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth re-emerge as their hilariously conflicted relationship returned to the big screen for the first time in two years. Thor and Hulk have always been frenemies, and Ragnarok hit the mark in reigniting their relationship.

Still, like every movie ever (except Star Wars: Episode IV of course), Thor: Ragnarok was flawed.

You Are Myth-Staken

I’ve always been a fan of Greek and Norse mythology, which meant I knew a lot about them when I saw Thor: Ragnarok. That made it all the more irritating when I realized the writers skimmed the myths in five minutes, took a few characters’ names and made them whatever they wanted.

Hela, who was the main villain in the movie, is not the “Goddess of Death”; she’s a giantess. Fenris Wolf is not giant, and he is supposed to fight Odin in the final battle of Ragnarok. All gods are immortal until they are slain in battle. The Valkyries were not massacred. Marvel’s barrage of misappropriation was kind of triggering because it’s one thing to make characters unique to the comics, but scrapping them entirely to forge a loosely accurate plot is not the right move

Nothing New Under the (Odin)Sun

The real reason why Thor: Ragnarok wasn’t a revolutionary Marvel flick like Captain America: Civil War or Logan was that it didn’t really show audiences anything new. The villain was virtually invincible, but that didn’t necessarily make her charismatic. Captain America brought in a large cast of characters in a way that was smoothly executed and beautifully orchestrated. Logan brought a dark conclusion to the saga of a fan favorite.

Ragnarok, however, was paced poorly. Things popped out at the audience faster than they could comprehend, and the good moments felt more like quips than actual moments. Everything happened so fast that there was no time to really enjoy the movie, and that’s a very important issue when a film is advancing the plot of a series.

The Wrap-Up

So, Thor: Ragnarok was good because it followed the formula for good movies. It was funny, action packed and just fun overall. The thing is, the movie doesn’t match up to its recent Marvel counterparts, and there were a lot more ideas that could’ve made Thor: Ragnarok better than it was. Instead, we got a kinda good story with a thrown together team of protagonists and humor being the only glue to hold it all together. Though Ragnarok was a solid movie overall, there is certainly room for improvement in the Thor franchise.